Workshop on Standards for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Preventive Interventions for Children, Youth, and Families

When: November 18, 2013 - November 19, 2013 (10:00 AM Eastern)

Topics Children and Families, Health Services, Coverage, and Access, Quality and Patient Safety
Activity: Standards for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Preventive Interventions for Children, Youth, and Families
Board: Board on Children, Youth, and Families

An ad hoc committee planed and conducted a 2 day public workshop to highlight the issues on finding consensus on the standards for benefit-cost analysis of preventive interventions for children, youth, and families. An individually authored workshop summary will be prepared based on the information gathered and the discussions held during the workshop sessions. The workshop featured invited presentations and discussions that addressed the following questions:

  • What level of research rigor should be met before results from an evaluation are used to estimate or predict outcomes in a cost-benefit analysis? 
  • What are best practices and methodologies for costing prevention interventions, including the assessment of full economic/opportunity costs? 
  • What prevention outcomes currently lend themselves to monetization? Are shadow prices available for those outcomes that are not typically monetized? 
  • What processes and methodologies should be used when theoretically and empirically linking prevention outcomes to avoided costs or increased revenues? 
  • Over what time period should the economic benefits of prevention interventions be projected and what discount rates should be used? 
  • What outcome domains are appropriate for a benefit-cost analysis of early childhood programs to consider? 
  • What are the best methods for handling risk and uncertainty in estimates? (e.g., What are the strengths and limitations of Monte Carlo simulations) 
  • What information needs to be included in benefit-cost analysis summaries and reports? 
  • What issues arise when the results of benefit-cost analyses are applied to prevention efforts at scale? Do benefit-cost results from efficacy trials need to be adjusted when prevention is taken to scale? 
  • How should we account for heterogeneity in program effects in benefit-cost analyses? 
  • Can we define standards all studies should meet before they can be used to inform policy and budget decisions? 
  • How could research be used to create policy models that can help inform policy and budget decisions, analogous to the benefit-cost model developed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP)? 
  • What is the role of meta-analysis in the application of benefit-cost analysis to prevention programs?

This activity constitutes Phase 1 of a possible two-part effort directed towards guiding future benefit-cost studies, ensuring greater consistency and comparability across studies, and enhancing the relevance of benefit-cost analysis to government and organizations wanting to make sound prevention investments. If the subsequent phase is funded, a separate GBEC approval will be requested.

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